The significance of the excess of obstetric complications which appears to characterize the histories of schizophrenic patients is critically dependent on the validity of the source of obstetric information, especially when this is obtained by maternal recall. Twenty-one biological mothers of 17 schizophrenic and four other patients were interviewed for their recollections of individual events characterizing the pregnancy and delivery relating to each patient. These were then compared with those events documented in maternity hospital records. Only in two of the 21 instances (9·5%) were inconsistencies of detail apparent which would have affected the designation of the relevant patient as having, or as not having, experienced major obstetric complication(s). It is concluded that maternal recall can be a surprisingly accurate source of obstetric information in relation to research on schizophrenia.
c1 Address for correspondence: Dr John L. Waddington, Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland.